Monday, August 17, 2009

New low-end comp north of Montana?

Never listed in the MLS, this recently popped up in comp lists: the 4 bed / 2 bath house at 454 9th Street (Zillow link; click photo to enlarge), sold 6/18/09 for $1,402K.

It's looked like a fixer, although big at 2,575 SF on a 7,500 SF lot. But from this current photo, the new owner is painting the exterior, certainly not bulldozing it.

Is this a new low comp, or a sweetheart deal? My Google search on the address didn't find any indication of it being marketed in other ways. Anyone have any inside scoop?

Updated: Per a comment and the County, this sale price may have actually been $1,575.5K. Still looking for comments.

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

According to LA County Assessors, this house sold on 6/18/09 at$1,575,515. It just shows how off and inaccurate Zillow is.

Westside Bubble said...

Even stranger is that some comp lists (like Redfin's) have a sale price of only $173,500.

If you add $1,402,000 + $173,500 = $1,575,500. Huh??

Anonymous said...

Could it have been a transfer between family members? Inherited?

Anonymous said...

I think I solved the mystery as to why the house was never listed. Go to propertyshark.com. It looks like it was bought by the people who live next door to this house at 448 9th Street. The website also shows the split on the price of $1,402,000 and $173,500.

Westside Bubble said...

Interesting, it looks like two different sellers to the same buyer. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

This proves the trend

more and more people north of montana want and can afford a double lot and are buying the modest house next door

having two houses next to each other allows you to combine the backyards and also to have a sweet guest house.

look around north of montana - more and more of this

Anonymous said...

This is going to save the high-end market from collapse! The foreign investors never materialized, Bubble 3.0 is stalled . . . here come the neighbors seeking double lots!

Anonymous said...

"this proves the trend"

Oh man. Who is this guy?

Anonymous said...

he is

someone to

avoid listening to

at all costs

Anonymous said...

Can you clarify what the split is here ?

did they pay 1,402 for the land and 173 thousand for the structure

is that the logic behind the split ?

in any event, this proves that you can now buy a livable family home for 1.6 million all in (NOT IN FRANKLIN but still nice to see a family home for 1.6)

Anonymous said...

Was it liveable? Did anyone see inside?

Typically, when the neighbors buy next door, they buy for investment, not to combine. Since it did not come onto the market and was not sold for a premium, it looks like another speculation buyer.

Knocking down the yard wall and combining does not make much sense because the City will not actually let you build one big house on both lots.

Instead you end up with 2 houses, 2 kitchens, 2 garages ( which take up a lot of space), and a marginally larger yard (if it is a one story house)etc.

If you want a big yard, it is much better to buy a house on a big lot in Brentwood, PP, or Bel Air, where the lots can be very large.

Buying next door in NOM is not a great idea unless you are moving family members (that you like) in as neighbors.

Still the $1.6 m price shows the market continues to try to rationalize at lower prices.

I think this and similar houses, if they are really liveable inside, still have another 20% downside before the end of next summer. That would put it at about $1.2m in 2010.

Or more.

Anonymous said...

A house next door makes sense as a guest house.

It is much more pleasant for you to give your guests their own kitchen and their own laundry room - gives the guests privacy and makes them want to visit you more.

Most people that do this turn one of the garages in to a gazebo or pool house or something - I agree it is crazy to have two garages

Bob Dylan owns five houses next to each other in Brentwood

Anonymous said...

I am not sure that this house is a reliable comp. Maybe the buyer bought from an old couple who didn't know what they could get for their house?? Who knows? I also don't think the buyers are going to create one big house. They have been fixing up the house since they purchased it, so maybe they will try to resell it?? Not sure.

Wooster said...

Perhaps they just want to control the real estate around their home and are willing to buy in a declining market in order to do so. They could have a solid amount of money socked away and saw the opportunity to get some options as it related to adjacent properties.

Regardless, the property seemed to sell for $1,402,000. The assessed value is like $170k. There could be some prop 13 at work here. 448 was also transferred at about the same time, so it's confusing.

Anonymous said...

I have been trying to buy the 90402 SFR next door for the last 3 years (with no luck) for use as a guest house and office. Maybe next year the owner will relent. It is currently rented out, and held as an asset for the adult kids (who don't like the divorced parents or the house).

I am aware of 3 other adjacent lots in my area (about 4 blocks from the 9th house). Two of the purchases are on the down-low, including using a trust to make it look like separate owners. The owner uses a separate landscaper on the trust property, and there is no outward appearance the houses are commonly owned. I got nosy and asked one of the landscapers about the yards, he nervously showed me a gate between the two houses, and said the owner uses one garage for his sport cars, the other for his daily drivers. Apparently the second house is used for business meetings (he is a well know business guy), which makes sense because I will occasionally see fancy cars parked outside with business looking types getting in and out.

I don't know if there is a buy the lot next door trend, this has been going on for over 10 years. I am a latecomer to the the party.

Anonymous said...

it is interesting that you discuss the situations in which people own the house next door and keep it secret this is more comnmon than the situations in which they totally demolish the fence between the properties and make it obvious

but i never understood why - there is no law against owning two houses next to each other so why keep it secret

Anonymous said...

One: you can't combine lots in Santa Monica. You can't connect then in any way, but you can have fences /gates on the property line to go back and forth.

Two: I know the situation on this house. It was a long time neighbor purchase (under market value) as they took care of the people for years. This is not a good comparable for NoMo....sorry.

Anonymous said...

One more reason for keeping it quiet is business use, w/o a city license or permits. I have two SFR's running a business in my NoMo area, one in a guest house and one in a converted garage. One is a software co with 3-4 employees showing up everyday, parking their cars around the corner and using the alley. The other is small design studio, which I hear is set-up better than most offices in the Pacific Design Center.

Anonymous said...

It is the dirty little secret of North of Montana that so many of my neighbors have two units on their property. A very large percentage of the garages have been converted in to apartments that they either rent out or let the nanny live in for free. Another chunk of the garages are used as offices - two real estate brokers that live North of Montana have garage offices and have their junior associates visiting all the time

it does reduce the residential feel of the neighborhood, and when you are paying North of Montana prices you don't want to deal with this stuff - but there it is - the city can't enforce everything

at least we don't have tons of RVs parked on the residential streets like they have in venice

Anonymous said...

It's not a "dirty little secret." California law requires local municipalities to allow second dwelling units. Yes, even in R-1 areas. See Gov. Code Section 65852.2. Santa Monica was itself the subject of a lawsuit enforcing this provision in the early part of this decade.

Anonymous said...

The issue is everywhere, from San Marino to Hancock Park; imagine the situation in areas like Venice and OP for writers, artists, sales people, etc. My tax guy won't even consider a home offic deduction for his clients (a HUGE red flag). He claims a lot folks are using the deduction and will end-up getting reamed in an audit for the office and everything else.

My favorite public example is the Flipping Out show with Jeff Lewis and his 4+ employees all working in his home office.

Anonymous said...

Hold on

there are two separate issues.

First issue - my neighbors that have converted their garage in to a rental apartment -

while most of the renters are nice people, this does crowd the street with cars and generate more noise

Second issue - my neighbors that have made their garages in to offices - this is more of an irritation

are you saying BOTH are legal or just the rental apartment ?

Anonymous said...

Yes I can confirm this trend, 90402 prices are high now and are going higher because of the tremendous pent-up demand for owning adjacent lots. For example, I own a home in NoMa to live in, but I've also had to buy an adjacent 8000 square feet lot in the past year to build a garage that can house my blue Cayenne and the black Cayenne.

I am now going to bid on yet another house on the opposite side of my house, so I can tear it down and build a playhouse for my kid when he visits on weekends when I have custody. I only wish I could buy a third lot to put in a separate place for the maid. BTW I'm paying 20% over 2006 prices for the lot for the playhouse, this trend is causing a buying frenzy here in 90402. You have to bid high and buy now or you're going to be priced out for sure.

Anonymous said...

August 19, 2009 3:09 PM

Are you on drugs? Folks here are giving insight into what is going on in our 90402 neighborhood. No one said one thing about prices, just quality of life and actual events - look up the records. Seems like folks outside the zip are more obsessed about prices than those of us who actually live here. Weird.

Anonymous said...

Wait...its legal to have two dwelling units in a R-1 zone? In Santa Monica? Then why did I get cited for having an 'illegally converted garage'? If everybody could legally convert their garage into living space, wouldn't they do it?????

Anonymous said...

Okay, I looked that code up and it was struck down in Santa Monica. Figures. They are NOT ever going to allow 2nd units or garage conversions in R-1 zone.....sorry. Check out the ruling.....

www01.smgov.net/cityclerk/council/agendas/1996/s1996101508-B.html

Anonymous said...

There are no new legal garage conversions in R1 zones. Very few of the 'granny' conversions were grandfathered by petition, but they had the substance of a functional garage or comparable off-street parking space, and a separate living area (typically a second story over the garage).

I can't speak to the other zips, but I know for fact SM will follow up and bust 90402 conversions, including a post-inspection to ensure the illegal drains and plumbing are sealed off. If a pissed-off neighbor drops a dime, the party is over.

All the above refers to converted rentals, not the home office issue.

Anonymous said...

A buyer purchased 2 lots (415 Alta Ave and 427 Alta Ave). They built a huge house on one lot and there's a huge yard w/swimming pool on the other lot. Anon from August 19, 2009 12:10 AM said you can't combine lots but these were combined...at least in that there's no fence dividing them. There's just one big fence & huge hedges around the whole thing combining the 2 lots. And what about that hedge ordinance?! Ha! These people were definitely not grandfathered in on that ordinance. It's a fairly new home.

Anonymous said...

If the hedges piss you off, call the City. The grandfather rules are black and white, either you have a permit or comply with height regulations. Period.

FYI, I have a permit for my mega-hedge, as do a lot of the old-timers. It was a big deal to get the code passed, and owners knew the grandfather provision was solid gold. A Euclid neighbor, who has a permit, ran into a beef with a spec guy who wanted the hedges removed for more light. The neighbor called in the City who told the spec guy to back off. My neighbor and the City f'd the spec guy from day one of construction with numerous issues and shut-downs, and delayed completion in time to catch the bubble downside. My neighbor is a hero to the rest of us. Fair warning to spec guys and newbies - don't screw with the older owners, the City will make your life miserable.

Anonymous said...

I'm Anon from August 19, 2009 8:51 PM. I was kidding about the hedge ordinance violation. Perhaps they are in violation but I could care less about it. It amuses me that SM City Council spent so much time talking about that issue. Aren't there more important things?

Anonymous said...

Anyone looked at the house on 15th near the corner of Georgina and 15th? They bought the lot next door and tore down the house and built a small guest house and a giant pool - it looks very nice and enhances the neighborhood. Any other examples people can cite of people that did a good job with this ?


On another note, if my neighbor is using his garage as an office and has large number of people driving over and using the garage office with him each day, is there a legal way to get him shut down, is what he is doing something the cops will enforce?

Anonymous said...

"It amuses me that SM City Council spent so much time talking about that issue. Aren't there more important things?"

It was a big deal if you received a notice from the City threatening massive daily fines for an 'illegal' 30 year old hedge. Residents fought a unilateral City decision and regained a voice in setting local regulations. The result today is a different City Council (including Shriver), and greater transparency and public input into planning decisions. It is more than hedges; the original SM Place plan was to build 20 some story towers - shut down due to public input. Hedges are a small potatoes issue, but the matter put the City on alert that heavy-handed tactics will be met with civil opposition. After rent control, the City rode rough shod over property owners until the hedge issue came along. It remains a seminal moment in SM history, and hopefully is the long-term turning point to regain the community from misguided stewards.

Anonymous said...

Another double lot I know about is 344 24th Street and the lot next to it.

Anonymous said...

"On another note, if my neighbor is using his garage as an office and has large number of people driving over and using the garage office with him each day, is there a legal way to get him shut down, is what he is doing something the cops will enforce?"

Don't call the cops - they are busy with other stuff and have nothing to enforce on a zoning issue.

Call the City planning office, or enter a complaint online through the City website, or better yet, go down in person. The City logs every complaint and follows up within 2-3 business days. The City will coordinate on the zoning issue, building pernmit issue, and business license issue. I have lived here a long time and have yet to hear (other than the hedges) about a major offending owner beating down the City. Variance exceptions for R1 have a lousy batting average. Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

"The result today is a different City Council." I'm not sure it's all that different. I think all the members are backed by SMRR except Shriver.

http://www.newgeography.com/content/00887-lessons-left-when-radicals-rule-%E2%80%93-for-thirty-years

Anonymous said...

OK, I overstated about the Council, they are still a bunch of special interest puppets. I got excited about the hedge issue. Stupid as it sounds, I have my hedge approval letter framed in my home office. I would gladly tear out my hedge as a condition of the City Council favoring homeowners over social engineering experiments.

Anonymous said...

Anon Aug 19, 7:30 p.m..

Sorry, the City of Santa Monica cannot "strike down" a State of California law. It happens in reverse, in fact. The city is the inferior jurisdiction whose enactments yield to those of the state. That's how the old Draconian rent control was overturned, by the act of the superior jurisdiction, i.e. the state. The 1996 ordinance you cite was "struck down" by the Second District Court of Appeal in 2001.

But be aware: the fact that California state law compels the municipality to allow a second living unit does NOT mean that the second unit can be a rental unit. The local municipality is also still permitted to establish reasonable setback rules and code standards. Anon Aug 19, 7:21 p.m., your conversion might have violated Santa Monica's setback requirements (for example, if the garage is on or too close to the lot line) or violated some other building standard.

Facts and Feelings said...

What an eye opener, learning about the combining of lots in SM residential areas, the operating of unpermitted businesses in former garages, and the grandfathering in of old hedges! Knowing about these things adds to the arsenal of information needed to make a wise purchase in SM. Thanks, Westside Bubble Blog!

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:57, you don't call planning either, you call code enforcement. But then you are probably justbeing a jerk. Like 90% of the calls they receive.

Anonymous said...

City, state, and county all have different juridisdictions. Their reach is defined and periodically one of them steps on the other's toes, but planning rules are set by the city. Since a lot of money changes hands among the three they will condition eachother to have certain codes to get $ for certain things, so the lines are blurred. Building code is set by the state. I could go on.

Anonymous said...

What is the bottom line - if my neighbor in the 90402 has converted his garage in to a 400 square foot rental apartment, with a kitchenette and bathroom, and is renting it out to college students, is this something that the city of Santa Monica will aggressively bust him for or will they let it pass?

Anonymous said...

Aggressively bust - zoning, occupancy, and building code violations. The City loves to find code violations; the sewer tap w/o a permit will end the show by itself, all the other violations will be added coffin nails.

The homeowner has no recourse but to comply, applying for a variance for an illegal housing unit is a useless exercise.

Anonymous said...

Thank you
this is the most useful info I have heard since starting to read this blog

Westside Bubble said...

One: you can't combine lots in Santa Monica. You can't connect then in any way, but you can have fences /gates on the property line to go back and forth.

Not true. The zoning rules had been that if you combined two lots then the setbacks for a single new house across them would require double the side yard setbacks. But I think the City Council changed that so a house could be expanded while one side yard could remain narrow, perhaps like the 15th Street situation.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I have been the victim of a code compliance case in SM. An 'illegally converted garage', and mine has no plumbing or kitchen!!!!! My kids used the drywalled garage as a rec room! That was it.....

The City of SM were super aggressive about it, mandated inspections, letter from the City attorney's office, code compliance officers calling all the time....

I can't imagine if you got caught with a rental unit with plumbing, etc....yikes!!!!!! God help you.....

Also, you cannot run an office out of your R-1 residence...even if you have built a secondary bldg for that purpose......not in the code.

The combing lot issue....you can't BUILD across the lot lines....ever.

Anonymous said...

I am a long time SM resident and have had and seen my share of code battles - the home owner loses 99% of the time.

Irrespective of the amount of money spent or quality of design, a converted garage is a goner, along with attached arbors, plumbing, etc. Contractors know better, but will take your money anyway and have you sign a 'at your own risk' contract.

The amazing part is homeowners will build something flagrant and have noisy tennants or loud parties in their converted spaces. One call to the City code office from a p'od neighbor and the nightmare begins.

Anonymous said...

Another question - I have a neighbor that parks his RV in his back yard - the RV is not visible from the street - I personally don't care about the RV

IF (and this is hypothetical) IF he invited his nephew to come live in the RV, is that illegal?

I mean what are the rules about RV on property - how long are you allowed to have someone live in it ?

I am talking about the 90402

Anonymous said...

Codes and enforcement are the same for all SM zips, but the R1 areas get the closest scrutiny.

The issue of the RV is occupancy; if the City investigates and determines there are hook-ups and apparent occupancy, there is a violation. The holding tank and sewage issue is the killer. If the neighbor is spotting dumping their holding tank they are in deep crap, in more ways than one. The Hazmat team will get called out, they will be cited, and will have to pay a big time fine PLUS the costs of the Hazmat and other services. Short answer is the nephew should find a room mate elsewhere or move in the main house.

Tom said...

All this complaining to the city and turning in the neighbors sounds pretty childish. What does the guy with the iron clad grandfathered hedge do when the hedge or a part of it dies? Can he spray paint it green to keep it going a while?

Anonymous said...

"All this complaining to the city and turning in the neighbors sounds pretty childish."

Comes with the turf in any better area; ever read about the zoning wars in the Hamptons, the Coastal Commission permit battles in SoCal, or the freeway battle in Pasadena?

Point is people get passionate about their community in some odd ways. Lack of passion means you are probably in the wrong neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

passion about hedges is hardly a marker of a good neighborhood. I'd rather live where people were passionate about bettering their schools, ending this war, feeding hungry people, ending poverty, providing high quality health care, and really anything other than hedges

Anonymous said...

"I'd rather live where people were passionate about bettering their schools, ending this war, feeding hungry people, ending poverty, providing high quality health care, and really anything other than hedges."

There is a neighborhhod group who is enlightened and progressive, passionate about social inequality, free health care, and wealth re-distribution - the owners of the broken down campers who park in Venice every night.

Anonymous said...

THE ABOVE QUOTE IS THE FUNNIEST THING I HAVE READ TODAY..

I work hard to one day afford to live in a Liberal neighborhood. They never let the homeless near them. They are too good for that. Plus Liberals are always the rich white people.

Anonymous said...

good, then we agree, I'll take the good people for neighbors and you take the hedges

Anonymous said...

NEW POST PLEASE!!!!!!! This one has played out (20 responses ago....)

Anonymous said...

I agree- you know it's going downhill once Liberal Basher comes back. I am not sure why the heck he or she wants to live in Santa Monica (or LA) in the first place?